Category Archives: miscellaneous

Mom’s Notes sale ends Monday!

Just a quick note to let you know that the Mom’s Notes discount ends Monday, January 31! Use the coupon code Blog15 for 15% off your entire order at Mom’s Notes. Want more info? Go here.

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Moving to one nap a day

I don’t usually use this blog as a forum to give advice on naps and specific schedule items, but I see this one come up so often, I thought I would address it here. When our children drop the morning nap, it marks a shift in the child’s development. Dropping the morning nap is a big milestone in the lives of many parents of toddlers. Yet it’s almost one of the most frustrating. Many Babywise parents don’t know how to drop the nap without affecting baby’s sleep too terribly.

Here’s how the situation typically plays out. Baby is napping well and is able to overcome teething and various disruptions without too much trouble. For the most part, things have been going well for quite some time. Then suddenly, baby stops falling asleep for his afternoon nap. He’ll play in his crib for the whole nap, or he’ll go down fine but wake up after just 45 minutes. Mom gives it a day or two before deciding that something is going wrong. She knows that baby needs his afternoon nap and he seems to nap so well in the morning that she’s a little dumbfounded.

It’s true, these babies would nap a couple hours every morning if left to their own devices. But mom knows that there’s no way baby can go from late morning until bedtime without turning into a monster. The afternoon nap must be saved!

Before I give you my advice on dropping a nap, let me explain how I would not do it.

Don’t #1: Get out in the morning

Some say that the best way to preserve the afternoon nap is to cut out the morning nap entirely, cold turkey. To avoid a cranky baby in the morning, you should go out. Run errands. Take baby to story time at the library. Whatever. Just get out. It’s true, that getting out will help keep baby alert enough that he won’t get as cranky as he would at home. But still, it deprives the child of sleep.

Don’t #2: Every other day

Another approach is to allow baby to have a morning nap every other day. It’s true that this could help baby drop the morning nap, but the problem is it still deprives the child of sleep. By allowing him the nap every other day, you are depriving him of sleep and then letting him catch up on sleep on the days you allow it. His sleep is not on an even keel. The other problem with this approach is that it’s still likely that baby will not nap well in the afternoon on the days he takes a morning nap.

Don’t #3: Early bedtime

One idea to drop the nap is to let baby nap in the mornings and then do an earlier bedtime to compensate for the lack of sleep in the afternoon. Mom gradually moves the morning nap later and later while doing an early bedtime. Eventually, the morning nap becomes an afternoon nap. There are two problems with this approach. First, mom is messing with both naps and bedtime. There’s no need to mess with bedtime (if you’ll finish reading this post). Second, baby is still cranky and overtired until the transition process is complete.

My advice: Shorten the morning nap

When you’re sure that baby is ready to drop the morning nap and that the afternoon nap disruptions aren’t due to anything else (noise, teething, etc.), start shortening the morning nap. For this approach to work, it’s important to know your baby’s optimal wake time. When I did this with Lucas, his wake time was 2 hours. I realize that not all babies can go to sleep after just 2 hours, which is fine. The key is knowing what your baby’s optimal wake time is. It’s different for every child.

Before his afternoon nap disruptions, Lucas would usually nap for 1.5 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. When I knew that nothing else was causing the problem, I started waking him up after one hour of sleep in the morning. I would allow him his usual wake time of 2 hours and then put him down for his afternoon nap. This meant that his afternoon nap started 30 minutes earlier, but it worked because he was still getting used to a shorter morning nap.

I continued allowing him a one-hour morning nap until his afternoon nap was again being disrupted in some way. I let him tell me when he was ready to shorten the nap even more. So then I started waking him up after 45 minutes. Again, I would put him down after 2 hours of wake time. Throughout the transition, I would let him sleep as long as he wanted to in the afternoon and I never messed with his bedtime.

After a few months of a 45-minute morning nap, we reduced it to 30 minutes. After a few months of that, we ended up going on vacation and it was the perfect time to drop the morning nap altogether. If we were home, I might have allowed a 20-minute catnap, but it also became apparent to me that he would have done fine without the morning nap entirely.

Bear in mind, this is not the fastest way to drop the morning nap. We started shortening the morning nap when Lucas was about 14 months old. He didn’t drop it entirely until he was almost 23 months old. Did I mind? Not in the least. Would I have minded a cranky baby all morning or afternoon? For sure. Would I have minded difficult bedtimes due to an overtired baby? Of course.

This gradual approach ensures that baby still gets the sleep he needs while allowing for an easy transition to drop the nap.

Schedule examples

To spell it out more clearly, here’s how our schedule looked during the transition.

Transition months 1-3

Morning nap: 10:00-11:00

Afternoon nap: 1:00-3:00-ish

Night sleep: 7:00pm-8:00am

Transition months 4-6

Morning nap: 10:00-10:45

Afternoon nap: 12:45-2:45-ish

Night sleep: 7:00pm-8:00am

Transition months 7-9

Morning nap: 10:00-10:30

Afternoon nap: 12:30-2:30-ish

Night sleep: 7:00pm-8:00am

You’ll recognize that the time between Lucas’ afternoon nap and bedtime got longer and longer. He handled this well. I realize, however, that some might not. The alternative is to keep the afternoon nap at the same time regardless of the child’s optimal wake time. There is something to be said for babies who are used to falling asleep at the same time every afternoon no matter how the long the morning nap was.

Finally, be sure baby is waking up at the same time every morning. No matter the method, the nap transition will not go well at all if you allow baby to sleep in every morning to compensate for a lack of sleep. The afternoon nap is where you will allow him to sleep as long as he needs.

Questions?

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Working moms: Postpartum depression

by Bethany Lynch

The most emotional aspect of my first pregnancy was the raw panic I felt when I thought about returning to work. I never thought I would panic. I thought I would love returning to my routine, my field of expertise, my adult world.

Almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started feeling a nibbling anxiousness. It continued throughout my pregnancy and heightened as my delivery approached. All through my maternity leave, I was distraught. It was always in the back of my mind, even when I was enjoying the most tender and sweetest of moments. I knew it was inevitable, so I put on my best game face as I got ready to leave my little one.

I did great the first two weeks back. I was tough. I was brave. Then I lost it. I sat in my office and bawled. I couldn’t talk to anyone about my son without tearing up. If I got stuck in traffic on my way to pick him up from daycare, I started to have a panic attack. If I saw his picture, I broke down. My husband took him to daycare and let me pick him up because he knew I was incapable of leaving him. I made an appointment with a counselor and my OB and could not even speak a word without starting to sob.

My OB suggested that I had a form of late postpartum depression (PPD). I never had thoughts of harming my child. But when I started sobbing and choking because I got off late from work and was missing time with my baby, I knew something had to change.

My OB prescribed me a very low dose antidepressant, but I just could not bring myself to take it. It was not the stigma. Goodness knows I probably should have gotten it filled. I am a pharmacist. I dispense those needed antidepressants. I still just thought I should be tougher, better, stronger than that.

I decided to work through it on my own. It took me a year to make my peace. PPD is scary. It is horrid. It is dark. It does not discriminate. It terrifies many stay-at-home moms, too. Nonetheless, it was leaving my little baby daily that sent me spiraling. Oddly, I was depressed and even anxious on the days that I did spend with him. It was unnerving to know that it was fleeting.

Staying at home or even changing my work schedule was not an option. Period. What changed? My acceptance. My attitude. I had to look for the positives, as badly as I did not want to. I learned that in that moment in time I would not have made a very good stay-at-home mom. I would not have appreciated or valued that time. I was such a nervous first-time mom.

I also had to appreciate the differences between myself and moms that worked part time. I had to realize that many of them were even more torn than I was. They felt like they were supposed to stay at home and work, too.

Eventually, I accepted that I was providing so much in so many ways to my child and my husband. During that very dark year of making and finding my peace, I came away with a few observations.

  • Counseling may not be able to change your situation, but it can help you reach acceptance.
  • Medication is okay and sometimes necessary. It’s also a faster and less painful road to recovery.
  • Balance can be achieved without medication but may take a long time.
  • Working mom forums are a great way to find companionship and share frustrations.
  • PPD can easily be serious. Seek help.
  • Know the power of your attitude. Look for the advantages of being a working mother.
  • Find ways to be happy for your children. They should not have to deal with displaced emotions.

If you ever find yourself struggling with depression, please know that others have been there. Don’t hesitate to get the help you need.

____________________

Bethany is a wife and working mother of two young children. Married 8 years to her supportive husband, Lee, Bethany says that without Babywise her life would be impossibly chaotic. Babywise has helped her children, 2 ½ year-old Kai and 11 month-old Caitlin, become happy, healthy, well-rested and obedient. Despite her busy full-time job as a neonatal pharmacist at a fast-paced children’s hospital, Bethany loves to write about her family’s adventures on a family blog, and she has recently started a healthy-living blog called Babysteps to Organic Living.

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15% off Mom’s Notes!

If you’re a long-time reader, you know that Joey and Carla Link once graciously offered us a discount on the Mom’s Notes. Well, they’re doing it again! Use the coupon code Blog15 for 15% off your entire order at Mom’s Notes! The discount is valid January 3-31, 2011.

The Mom’s Notes are audio presentations (with paper notes) that give detailed, day-to-day practical advice on applying the Ezzo principles. There are several presentations on many different topics for many ages. You can purchase them individually, as a complete set or in starter packs. I have the entire set and listen to them often on my iPod. If I ever feel like our first-time obedience is lacking or my consistency is slipping, I’ll listen to Carla and get all the reinforcement I need. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Here are testimonies from other parents, offering further proof of the value of the Mom’s Notes.

Note: I have no affiliation with Mom’s Notes. I just love them and think you will too.

Feel free to post a comment if you have any questions before you purchase. I’ll try to answer them as objectively as I can.

Happy shopping!

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Potty training regressions

by Bethany Lynch

I wrote earlier about the need for discipline during our potty training experience. When our son started deliberately having accidents, it was clear that we needed some form of correction. However, accidents are not always deliberate, and it is very common for children to go through potty training regressions. I wish I had known that earlier! Regressions make you question every step and every decision.

There are some important questions to ask if you find yourself in the middle of a potty training regression:

  • Is this behavioral? Are there deliberate signs of refusing to use the potty?
  • Have we ruled out all physical causes and reasons? Are there any signs of illness?
  • Is my child too young? Should we postpone training and resume again in a month?
  • Have there been any changes to routine? Any trips that could have disrupted consistency?
  • If discipline is necessary, what would sting the most? Loss of toy? Time out? No reward?
  • Am I being consistent?
  • Am I sending mixed signals by using pull-ups or diapers except for sleep?
  • Does my child have too much freedom?
  • Am I expecting first time obedience in other areas?

So how did we get out of the mess we were back in? (No pun intended!) We went back to square one…bare bottom with the emphasis of staying clean and dry as soon as he was back in underwear. Every 60 minutes, we put him on the potty whether he could tell us he had to pee or not. If he did not use the potty, we put him back on the potty 15 minutes later. Yes, there were times he was not pleased he had to sit on the potty, but it was done. It was done without emotion and it was done consistently.

I think one trap of potty training is expecting to be told by the child when they have to potty from the beginning. This took a long time to happen, and I think putting him on the potty consistently went a long way in helping him learn sensations and bladder control.

Another interesting tactic that we used was a reward and prize system. Another mom gave me the idea of working towards a prize. We had used that system successfully for a while. Each time he went to the potty without an associated accident before or after that trip, he got a cotton ball. After ten cotton balls, he got a small prize which was hidden in a gift box. During his potty training regression, we also agreed that the novelty of cotton balls had probably outlived their usefulness. On a whim, we decided to put pennies in the jar instead of cotton balls. Being able to put all of his pennies in his piggy bank and still work towards a prize was more than enough motivation to get us back on track!

____________________

Bethany is a wife and working mother of two young children. Married 8 years to her supportive husband, Lee, Bethany says that without Babywise her life would be impossibly chaotic. Babywise has helped her children, 2 ½ year-old Kai and 11 month-old Caitlin, become happy, healthy, well-rested and obedient. Despite her busy full-time job as a neonatal pharmacist at a fast-paced children’s hospital, Bethany loves to write about her family’s adventures on a family blog, and she has recently started a healthy-living blog called Babysteps to Organic Living.

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Join Childwise Chat on Facebook!

Childwise Chat is now on Facebook! Join our community there to:

  • Ask a parenting question
  • Interact with like-minded Ezzo parents
  • Discuss your favorite parenting topics
  • Stay current on parenting news
  • Share your favorite parenting blogs

I’ll be there regularly to answer your questions and comment on your discussions. See the Facebook box on the right or click on the Facebook logo above to join.

See you there!

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Say “yes” when you can

I heard a wonderful phrase recently that I thought I would share. If you keep this phrase in mind throughout the day, it will help you determine when you can choose your battles and when you must consider holiness over happiness. Here’s the phrase:

“Say ‘yes’ when you can. But say ‘no’ when you must.”

Say “yes” when you can

Many parents are too quick to say “no” to their kids, often for the wrong reasons. The wrong reasons to say “no” include:

  • You don’t want to be put out.
  • You are annoyed by the request.
  • You are in a bad mood.
  • You are holding a grudge over a previous misbehavior. (It’s up to you to wipe the slate clean if you have effectively dealt with your child’s misbehavior.)

If you say “yes” when you can, you and your child will be much happier. True, your child’s little requests might put you out a bit, but if you don’t have a good reason to deny the request, then say “yes.”

Say “no” when you must

On the other side of the parenting spectrum are parents who are reluctant to deny their children’s requests. The wrong reasons not to say “no” include:

  • You fear that the child will throw a tantrum.
  • You worry about hurting his self-esteem.
  • You fear that your child won’t like you.
  • You are afraid to assert any authority over your child

If you plan to teach your child anything of value, you must have the strength to say “no” to your child when the situation calls for it. There are many times when you must consider your child’s holiness over his happiness.

Carry this phrase with you

Even if you feel you do a good job of saying “yes” and “no” for the right reasons, keep this phrase in mind as your child gets older. Consider these circumstances:

  • Your toddler begins to show he is capable of feeding himself, so you allow him that freedom at every meal. (You say “yes.”)
  • Your preschooler gets out of bed every night one week, so you take away his freedom of reading books in bed. (You say “no.”)
  • Your school-aged child shows over a period of weeks that he can complete his homework on time, so you give him the freedom to watch 30 minutes of TV after school. (You say “yes.”)

So while this phrase will certainly help us on a day-to-day basis, it’s also an idea that we should to carry with us throughout our parenting years.

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